The alarm sounds. The pilot of an inbound aircraft called for an emergency landing. The crew and passengers need you now. Every fiber of your being snaps to attention. Adrenaline starts to pump. You know exactly what to do. You’ve trained for this moment. But, climbing behind the controls of your ARFF unit, you hear a sound you didn’t expect. The truck won’t start.
No aircraft rescue firefighter (ARFF) should ever have to face that scenario. Captain Ron Krusleski shares that perspective. He was elected Chairman of the ARFF Working Group last year. Plus, he serves as Senior Captain and Assistant ARFF Coordinator for Houston’s Intercontinental and Hobby airports. With all this experience he knows the importance of Emergency Vehicle Technicians, or ARFF Mechanics, to the airport firefighting community.
Interviewing him recently, three points stood out.
Nothing happens until the apparatus starts. Firefighters can’t accomplish their mission if the truck doesn’t start. Hence, ARFF Mechanics are part of the puzzle: the fitting together of knowledge, training, systems, character, and equipment to keep the public safe.
ARFF Mechanics are the most knowledgeable people about the truck. They have more experience on the truck than anyone. They take it apart; they know how it works. Therefore, they are one of the best trainers of firefighters on the apparatus. Captain Ron’s advice to ARFF personnel is to talk to the ARFF mechanics, listen to them. Their expertise could keep a firefighter out of a situation.
Make ARFF Mechanics a trusted member of the community. Captain Ron believes Mechanics and firefighters are a team. His team breaks bread together. They work on trucks together. The firefighters trust the Mechanics and regard them as part of the family. Yes, it takes time to build such a close-knit relationship. Although these two groups may be on different payrolls, they are on the same team.
Captain Ron sees the big picture. He equates trusted Mechanics to be as important as training. Communities wisely invest in training but an equal investment should be given to Mechanics. The relationship of trust between these two is what keeps an ARFF ready to serve.
Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus has experience in servicing and refurbishing ARFFs. Our technician team includes three certificed Master EVT ARFF technicians. Connect with us for your ARFF service needs.